Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Castles In The Clouds, Flowers of Eden series, Book 2 by Myra Johnson



The first book in the Flowers of Eden series introduced readers to Bryony Linwood, an orphan trying desperately to provide for her sisters in the shadow of the Great Depression. In Castles in the Clouds, we meet one of those sisters—Larkspur Linwood, a young woman who has a passion for teaching but yearns for something more than life as a small-town Arkansas schoolmarm.

Young and impressionable, Lark mistakes a college professor's interest for romantic love. When he offers her the chance to join his efforts to start a school in Kenya, she pictures herself bringing the light of knowledge to hundreds of African children eager to learn. But the menial tasks she's assigned at the school aren't so different from life on the farm where she grew up. Worse, her fragile heart is broken when she realizes her feelings for the charismatic professor are not returned. Miserable and deflated, she gives up and returns home.

Enter Professor Anson Schafer, whom she met briefly in Kenya. Partially blinded from an eye infection he contracted there, Professor Schafer cannot return to Africa. He has come to Lark's school to recruit teachers like her for a more modest venture—the founding of schools and relief efforts here in the U.S. for those struggling through the Depression.

Still stinging from her experience in Kenya, Lark is reluctant to risk leaving her familiar surroundings, but she knows how great the need has become, and—although this isn't the exciting life she'd envisioned—she finally agrees. As they work side by side, Lark begins to realize that the deepest satisfaction comes not so much from what you do, or where you do it, but from the attitude of your heart. She also slowly realizes that the gentle, determined Anson is the true love of her life.

Excerpt from Castles in the Clouds by Myra Johnson.

Series: Flowers of Eden, Book 2
Published 8-26-2016
ISBN: 1632530023


Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Her Heartsong Presents romance Autumn Rains (November 2009) won Romance Writers of America’s 2005 Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript. Myra is also a two-time finalist for the prestigious American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Awards, and she is proud to announce that her novel When the Clouds Roll By (Abingdon Press, 2013) won the historical fiction category of the 2014 Christian Retailer’s Best Awards.

Myra’s writing career was launched with her first short story sale in 1985. Since then her stories, articles, and devotions have appeared in more than 30 publications. She currently has more than a dozen novels and anthologies in print, including a post-World War I historical romance series for Abingdon Press. She is currently at work on a new historical romance series for Franciscan Media. Book 1, The Sweetest Rain, released September 2015.

Married since 1972, Myra and her husband have two beautiful daughters and seven grandchildren. Originally from Texas and most recently Oklahoma, the Johnsons moved to North Carolina in 2011, where they share their home with two very pampered rescue dogs. Myra writes full-time and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, as well as the online RWA chapter Faith, Hope & Love. Myra is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.



Larkspur Linwood has dreams of becoming a teacher.  Even though they are still suffering from the Great Depression she is able to go to college for her teachers degree.  Thanks to a wonderful couple she had a job at their store, along with a room to rent to help offset her expenses. She received  funds from her sister for pay  her college tuition.  It looks like all was going well for her.

Larkspur catches the attention of her Professor due to her dedication and grades.  He is handsome and
and has a way with words which creates new feelings in Larkspur beyond teacher student admiration.

He offers her and a couple of other women a chance of a lifetime adventure which would advance their teaching skills.  This adventure will be taking them to Kenya, Africa to a missionary school under the tutelage of a Professor Schafer. 

Schafer was highly overworked and sadly had a disease which was taking his eyesight.  He was very kind and handsome but different than her Professor from the college.  After finding her relationship with  her college Professor was not reciprocated she felt naïve and became depressed then decided to return home to the disappointment of the Kenya Professor.

Professor Schafer ends up having to go to the States hoping he was  leaving his Kenya school in capable hands. While he is in the States he decides with the help of a colleague to start a missionary school for the farmer's children whom were without schooling.  He gets in touch with Larkspur in hopes of recruiting her as a teacher since she had not returned to college.  Reluctantly she agrees to help.

Schafer and Larkspur slowly but surely to find a attraction and respect for each other.  But Larkspur was as resistant as Schafer to feed into any romantic feelings due to her trust issues and his health issues.

Will they get past their issues in this Great Depression and the ever growing problem of bigotry among parents of potential students..

I loved this story remembering stories my mother and grandparents shared with me about their lives during the Great Depression.  The names of the characters were right on for that era.  When I was small I remember in the early 50's the attire my grandparents and great grandparents wore  was still very similar to that worn during the Great Depression.

This author did an amazing job with this novel. I felt the hurt and the joy of the characters as I put myself in their place with in my minds eye as I read the book.

Thanks Myra Johnson!

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: I received a free digital copy  of this book from Franciscan Media via NetGalley for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated for this review it is my own opinion.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found…

Now remembered as the author of the world's most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett's enchanting voice, caroling. He's immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John's reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

Paperback400 pages

Published September 20th 2016 by WaterBrook
ISBN 1601427646 
(ISBN13: 9781601427649)

About AuthorJody Hedlund
Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
My Thoughts
John Newton is young and adventurous with a tendency to give into distractions which angers his father.  He has neglected to show up for several jobs aboard ships of which his father had arranged. On one such distraction he hears the voice of an angel singing,  and this angel looked the image of an angel and her name was Polly Catlett . He becomes somewhat of a hero and at times a nuisance to her.
Polly had Christian values which holds her back from forming any kind of romance with John.  The time they  spend together was creating beautiful music of which one song is the now famous Amazing Grace.  His talent and nearness was breaking down the walls Polly had built around her heart.  This wall came crumbling down when she had to turn the tables on him and she had to rescue him.
Polly's father made it clear that John needed to show him that he was responsible and financially stable enough to court his daughter.  Which meant he would need to take the job John's father had arranged for him or one of his own choosing.
I found John to be like many of our kids looking for fun and adventure living off their parents seeing no need of responsibility for themselves.  Now Polly she was young and still hanging to her parents coattails with blinders on that concealed the real word outside her home life yet she knew for sure she would not stray from her Christian values.
This book kept my attention until the very last page.  Love the story line center on the gospel song AMAZING GRACE. 
I highly recommend this book.
I rated this book a 5 out of 5.
Disclosure:  I received a free ebook from NetGalley/Waterbrook for an honest review.  I was in no way  compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection: 9 Historical Women Win More than a Blue Ribbon at the Fair

9 Historical Women Win More than a Blue Ribbon at the Fair
Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man?

ISBN: 9781634098618


Nine stories of young women seeing blue, Blue Ribbons that is of which they wish to win at their State Fair.  But that may not be all they win. Some are watching the crowds for that one Mr. Right, hoping they might have the chance to win his heart.  Some of these young men may have been a little resistant and other are not resistant at all to this idea.

Each novella takes us to a different state telling the history for that year and about the Fair itself. Like how the Fair is set up, what it offers as attractions and more adventure than any of these young people may have ever experienced in the lives. 

I liked all nine of the novellas. Some captured my heart a little more than others. To say which one is a favorite I must keep that a secret.
The County Fairs I attended were not State Fairs but I found them memorable. My kids have even walked away with some Blue and Red Ribbons showing Nubian Dairy Goats.

Congratulations to these authors for this adventurous collection of romance novellas with Christian values. Let's give all of them a big Blue Ribbon. 

I highly recommend this book!

Disclosure: I received a free ebook from NetGalley/Barbour for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.